Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rest in Peace, Samantha

A few months ago, Anchorage citizen Samantha Koenig, was abducted from a local coffee cart. It was nearly two months before she was found, murdered and placed beneath the ice in Matanuska Lake in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. No one deserves what happened to this young lady.

Her family, friends and community members who did not even know her, searched, contributed money to a fund dedicated to looking for her, and held out hope that she would be returned home, alive and ready to live her life to the fullest.

A send off for Samantha at West Anchorage High School April 22.
That did not happen. And today there was a memorial service of her life at West Anchorage High School. Hundreds attended, including Anchorage Police and Firefighters.

A note appeared on Facebook asking if there would be a memorial ride, and so since it needed to be done, I said I'd organize one. Samantha had worked for a time at the House of Harley, and made a lot of friends and acquaintances during that time. I don't know that I met her, but have heard of her friendliness, her lovely smile and infectious laugh.

Lime green was her favorite color, so I put together 40 armbands of lime green ribbon and lime green and black netting. There were also lime green ribbons for the bikes.

Armbands for the memorial ride.
As we gathered at the shop today, those 40 armbands disappeared in five minutes. Sixty-three bikes and more riders came out for Sam's memorial run. What a wonderful turnout by our biker community. The motorcycling community and the City of Anchorage citizens came together in this time of tragedy to provide a beautiful and heartbreaking send off for their angel.

Bikers for Samantha.

Sixty-three bikes rode in the memorial parade.
Samantha Koenig – taken long before her life had really begun. Rest in Peace, Samantha.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Retired life to do's

It's not that I don't have enough to do. I do. I try to go to zumba five mornings a week, I work at filing paperwork that never seems to end, I read and try to learn new things, I watch the doctor and prescription bills and I grocery shop. I've also developed a penchant for baking cupcakes. 
There are lots of cupcake cookbooks out there.
I seem to be doing a lot of cooking. I'm good with that, although I've run out of space in the refrigerator.

Pot roast with celery, onions, carrots and potatoes.
The mailbox at the post office gets checked a few times a week. This week I dropped by on my way home from zumba, and there was a package – my NASCAR for Dummies book – and a few bills, along with some junk mail.

There are lots of learning opportunities, and it's time I took advantage of some of them.
I seem to be on a lot of junk mail lists, ranging from ads for hearing aids to magazine offers , from insurance offers to bank offers. I've received most of that stuff for years. However, this time I received something I'd not received before – an Alaska Baby & Child Magazine and American Baby. WTF????

If you don't know, I don't have siblings, I have never had kids, and certainly don't have grandkids (unless you count my grandparenting by proxy with Hobb's grandkids). At my age of 65, why, all of a sudden, did I receive these?

It's not enough to get all that other junk mail?  Although this is a very cute baby.
These magazines must have thought I needed a mission or job in my sedate old retired life. I promptly got a number for the local one and called and talked to Natasha. I told her I wasn't a parent nor a grandparent and to remove me from the list. She said she would. That's good customer service (unless I get another one).

The other magazine was a little more difficult. No phone number listed anywhere, and not much else for someone to use for contact. But, hey, I'm retired. I've got time. I hunted them down on the Internet like the dog-publishing company they are and found a phone number. This number led me to another number, but I got real people both times. The second number was Laurie. I told her the same story – no kids or grandkids and probably not a candidate for pregnancy or even a surrogate for someone else. I eat kids for lunch. She looked me up. A subscription (who knows how I got that), and assured me I would not receive any further issues.

And I received this because??
Just in case, I have phone numbers and will call again and again, if necessary. Unless it's riding season and then it will no longer be on my radar.

Just me and Miss Scarlet O'Harley.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who am I?

Sometimes I wonder who I am. Don't you? Are we defined by where we're born, or where we live? I think that many are defined by titles – mother, sister, grandmother, wife, of which I am none, at least legally. Mind you, I'm not complaining. But I wonder how I am defined.

There are those who define me as an Alaskan. Some define me by my age. Others say I'm a biker. More may say I'm defined by my former profession, white collar, conservative electric utility employee. And then I wonder about that.

Okay, no white collar, and not exactly being conservative with two desserts at my Chugach winter party in January 2011.
The reason I've even given this some thought isn't because I'm a deep-thinking person. Nah, none of that. It's all because of the incident with my closet and the avalanche of Harley shirts that rained down upon my head.  In removing everything from the closet so it could be repaired, I started looking at what I had in there … suits, dresses, blouses, Harley shirts, of course, sweatshirts, jackets, leather vests and skirts … so it seemed like a good time to go through things.
Just one of multiple piles of clothes needing reorganization or removal.
My quandary is due to not being able to give up a whole lot of my professional-life clothing … the suits.
Working my last annual meeting for Chugach.  I don't know that I can give up this hot pink silk suit, though.  I even had a little pink feather for my hair, showing just a little of the rebel that will probably take over my life at some point.
So far, some dress shoes and three big bags of clothing have made it out of this house, mostly to the SPCA for the thrift store.  When I look around at the piles of stuff still in the bedroom, it's quite apparent that there is a lot more that can “begone.”

Two of three bags of clothes that are now gone from the premises.
Am I then defined as a hoarder? I sure hope not, but as I sift and paw threw these piles, I'm hoping it becomes easier to put a few more items in the “to be gone” pile rather than the “save and rehang in the closet” pile.

I'm trying to be practical and am thinking:

      1. I'm not planning to work again.
      2. If I do work, I don't want to work in a professional capacity.
      3. I want to be defined as a retired, cool biker lady, with lots of other interests.
Bear Claw Casino in Saskatchewan, Canada, 2010. 
So, guess I need to finish up here and get back into that bedroom and start moving stuff around again. Riding season is nearly here and I've got lots of miles to ride this summer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bike show, the start of riding season, eventually

This weekend was the bike show, sponsored by the Anchorage Motorcycle Dealer's Association.  It's currently held at Ben Boeke Ice Arena, next door to the Sullivan. I've been going to these shows since what may have been the first one over at the Northway Mall in 1992 or so. Uncle Glen was instrumental in getting that one going. It's since grown to a huge event with thousands of riders and non-riders both showing up to see fancy bikes, new offerings from the motorcycle dealers, motorclothes and accessories.

The poster says it all.
Each year many enthusiasts try to ride to the show, including me, at least at some point during the weekend.

Friday morning, bike show move-in day I woke up to snow. What was I to think? Hope we get the 2-3 more inches needed to break the all-time snowfall record? Or curse Mother Nature for dropping more of this disgusting white stuff on us, thereby seemingly eliminating the merging of hundreds of two-wheel traffic back onto the roadways?
I don't have to explain this one either.
So I just decided to go to zumba and wear off some of that frustration. By the way, the snow melted.

On Saturday morning, opening day of the show, I awoke to more snow coming down. Good grief, Mother Nature, get a life. Get this 2 point whatever inches of snow we need done, break the snowfall record, and then begone. Let us ride.

Drove down to the bike show in a blizzard and spent the day. Some hardy fools (whoops), sorry, rode, and I'm not talking about the folks on trikes. But it was a great day with what appeared to be a lot of folks coming to the show.
Look at all that snow. 
Friends appeared that I hadn't seen in a long time, others were there that I see often, but it's always wonderful to see them, and there were some bikes this year that were pretty spectacular.

Friendly faces staffed the HOG booth, from left, Elizabeth, Maria, Tricia and Julie. 

Dave and Alvin, what a couple of guys.  And great friends, too. 
I wandered around the show, visiting, and taking photos. My main target this year was bike parts, because it's easier to get a piece of a bike in a decent photo over trying to get the whole thing without other bikes or pieces of people in them. I don't particularly like arms, legs or feet in my photos.

Bike wheels can be so pretty.

Eagle eye.  Awesome bike.

Congratulations to Lee of Dreamcatcher Cycles with the Woodstock bike.  The trophies were nearly bigger than the bike.
Really nice wheel.
Another winner.
It was hard to miss this bright, cheerful Can-Am.  It was all decked out in pink, pink jewels, spider webs, lighted wheels; it was over the top and quite unique.  Owner Deb has breast cancer and this was a gift to her. 

I loved this paint.
There were some of the bike groups there so I took a few photos of patches, some of which are really nice looking and colorful. Being that Biker Bill is a Combat Vet, of course, I took a photo of their patch. It's a clean-looking patch and good-looking as well.

HOG folks do the security, and I made sure to get a couple of photos of them. Some were guarding their chairs like dogs in a manger, but they were doing an excellent job of it.

Brad, Steve and Tricia.  Security at its finest.

Frank and Troy guarded those chairs with their lives.

Donovan and Jim did chair guarding security on Sunday.  Look at those smiles.
Others were taking money for entry tickets, and a couple of them were working the “Crack the Safe” box. You could win up to $50,000. Me? Loser, with a Capital L, as usual. Gambling doesn't seem to be my game.

Jim and Neil were the safe-cracker guardians.
Loser, loser, loser.
Torque, Sherri and Roz were ticket-sellers extraordinaire!!!  They were selling tickets so fast you could hardly see their hands moving.  Tickets were flying off the counter as people poured in after about 11 a.m.
Easter Sunday morning dawned clear but cold, less than 30 degrees. Would it warm up enough to get the ice off the roads?

It did. I was a little apprehensive but by the time we left, most of the ice on the street that I was concerned about was gone. There wasn't too much water on most of our route, Jewel Lake to Dimond to C Street and down to Ben Boeke. Oh boy, it felt so good to ride.

Harvey was out and about, using a walker, but fraternizing, and selling tickets.  The green ribbons were given to us by our own Miss Harley-Davidson, Robin, in memory of Samantha Koenig.  RIP, Sam.

Our Miss Harley-Davidson, Robin.   She makes a perfect Miss H.D. 

Pam and her bike.  New paint this year.
We attended a patching ceremony by his group of Combat Vets. Good folks, all. Took a few photos, then we headed on home.
Combat Vets, Chapter 43-1, Alaska
As we headed to the barn, we stopped to take a photo of the bikes and snow. Good day for a first ridealthough a short 15-mile one, and the snow was seemingly not nearly as deep as before. Come on, springtime.

Snow, stop sign and bikes.  What a wonderful day. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What once was lost, now is found

A few years ago, in 2009, I went on my first, and only to this point, cruise with a bunch of Harley friends. Some were long-standing friends, some not as long but still dear, and some were new friends I met onboard. They were friends of others and had met at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally some years ago.

It was a motley crew at best, and every night was party night in the "Rat Bastard's" cabin.  It was a great group, and we had a blast.  Seven days wasn't enough with this bunch.  Good thing some of them live in Anchorage so I can see them often.  Others are in Washington state and Germany.  I will see them again.
The cruise was delightful, and my stateroom mate, the Purple Haze, and I had a great time. We did lots of excursions, ate wonderful food and experienced new ones, swam with sting rays and dolphins, wandered around the ship and had coffee of a morning on our balcony.

The Purple Haze and I visited a cave where we had to wear shower-type hats because of the bats.
In order to go on the cruise, I needed a passport. That wasn't an issue since I'd gotten one in 2006 in preparation for going on a motorcycle trip to Canada. But that became a problem since I couldn't find it. I searched and searched, the bike, my purses, and I tore the house apart looking for it. It was gone. I knew I hadn't lost it and figured I'd put it in a safe place, like some other things I can't find.

As the time drew nearer and the passport was still missing in action, my only alternative was to get a replacement. Off to the post office I went with my checkbook and new paperwork. The photo this time was no better than the original. If anything, it was probably worse. Oh well. I needed the passport as it was the key to getting on the Royal Carribbean ship and cruising to Haiti, Mexico, the Grand Caymans.

On the ship; nothing but sunshine.  It was wonderful.
Jumping into the future, March 2012, Hobbs comes in the house and asks what is my stuff doing in his truck. I'm thinking it's the driver's license I've been missing for several days. So out to the truck we go as I'm leaving to go to zumba. It was not my driver's license so I was disappointed. But much to my surprise it was the passport I'd misplaced. I'd put it into the glove box of his truck.

But now this one is of no use to me.
As I remember now, we went down to the social security office as I was nearing 62 because I wanted to get a card with my maiden name on it, not the last married name I'd had. I'd also taken copies of a divorce decree, but I hadn't been missing that since it was from the early 90s, and old news. We must have decided to go to lunch or something so I put them in the glove box and forgot about them. How 'bout that. What once was lost now is found. Of course, I'm still missing a driver's license. It's always something.